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    The E3 ubiquitin ligase Rad18 promotes a damage-tolerant and error-prone mode of DNA replication termed trans-lesion synthesis that is pathologically activated in cancer. However, the impact of vertebrate Rad18 on cancer genomes is not known. To determine how Rad18 affects mutagenesis in vivo, we have developed and implemented a novel computational pipeline to analyze genomes of carcinogen (7, 12-Dimethylbenz[a]anthracene, DMBA)-induced skin tumors from Rad18+/+ and Rad18- / - mice. We show that Rad18 mediates specific mutational signatures characterized by high levels of A(T)>T(A) single nucleotide variations (SNVs). In Rad18- /- tumors, an alternative mutation pattern arises, which is characterized by increased numbers of deletions >4 bp. Comparison with annotated human mutational signatures shows that COSMIC signature 22 predominates in Rad18+/+ tumors whereas Rad18- / - tumors are characterized by increased contribution of COSMIC signature 3 (a hallmark of BRCA-mutant tumors). Analysis of The Cancer Genome Atlas shows that RAD18 expression is strongly associated with high SNV burdens, suggesting RAD18 also promotes mutagenesis in human cancers. Taken together, our results show Rad18 promotes mutagenesis in vivo, modulates DNA repair pathway choice in neoplastic cells, and mediates specific mutational signatures that are present in human tumors. © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of NAR Cancer.


    Jitong Lou, Yang Yang, Qisheng Gu, Brandon A Price, Yuheng Qiu, Yuri Fedoriw, Siddhi Desai, Lisle E Mose, Brian Chen, Satoshi Tateishi, Joel S Parker, Cyrus Vaziri, Di Wu. Rad18 mediates specific mutational signatures and shapes the genomic landscape of carcinogen-induced tumors in vivo. NAR cancer. 2021 Mar;3(1):zcaa037

    PMID: 33447826

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